July 13, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — If you know Steve Garland, you can guess his reaction to the ACC’s decision to hold its 2011 wrestling tournament at John Paul Jones Arena.
UVa’s fifth-year coach is pumped, to say the least.
“It’s probably the best facility that any conference wrestling tournament’s ever been held in,” Garland fairly shouted Monday in his Onesty Hall office.
“I mean, I can’t prove that. There’s no way to quantify that. I just can’t see another facility better than [JPJ].”
That includes the University of Iowa’s storied Carver-Hawkeye Arena, in which Garland, a former UVa star, has wrestled and coached.
“There’s not another arena that’s as beautiful, that’s as functional, that has as many amenities [as JPJ],” Garland said.
UVa had hoped to host the ACC tournament at JPJ this year but wasn’t able to make it work. That didn’t deter Garland’s team, which won the ACC championship in Raleigh, N.C., and then finished 15th at the NCAA tournament in Omaha, Neb.
The conference title was the Cavaliers’ first in wrestling since 1977.
“It would have been awesome to have had it [at JPJ this year],” Garland said, “but having it next year, it’s going to be just as cool to defend our title there.”
The tournament will be held March 5, 2011, at JPJ. The Wahoos’ home matches usually are at Mem Gym.
“I think the fact that it’s going to be at the JPJ is awesome,” said Matt Snyder, who’s expected to be Garland’s starting 125-pounder next season.
“It’s absolutely perfect for fans, for alumni and for the amenities for our athletes,” Garland said. “They’ve never experienced anything like that … There’s everything you could possibly want in that arena.
“I’m just so excited. Every recruit who comes here on an unoffical visit, the first thing I do is bring him [to JPJ] and say, ‘This is where the conference tournament is going to be. Can you imagine wrestling here?’
“You should see their eyes light up. You should see the look on their faces. Wrestling’s always the lowest on the totem pole. The fact that wrestling got the support from the administration and got the go-ahead to do it there, it means more to the parents, especially, than anything. They can’t believe that wrestling gets that kind of help here.”
Virginia’s 2010-11 schedule can be found in this article from VirginiaSports.com.